Before this year, it was very rare that I set a book aside without finishing it. As I write this post, I currently have 28 DNFs, or “did-not-finish.” That’s probably about 28 times as many DNFs as I had in 2012. And the majority of these books are from the second half of 2013 – during the first half, I first started realizing that I could set aside books without finishing them and the world wouldn’t end, but it was still pretty rare for me.
I think there are multiple reasons I started DNFing so much. For one thing, I’m starting to feel slightly overwhelmed with all the books, which includes the fact that I want to read as many books as possible. If I’m stuck slogging through the same book for a couple of weeks, that’s a lot of time wasted where I could have been reading other books. I’m also more critical than I used to be, so things that might not have bothered me before now make me kind of want to throw a book across the room. In that same vein, I’m starting to realize what I like more, and if I don’t like a book, then there’s absolutely no reason to keep reading it. Better to cut it loose and move on to something I’d like more.
When I began setting so many books aside as DNFs, I had a decision to make: should I count them as books I read this year or not? Some of these books lasted only a chapter or two, but others lasted about halfway through the book, which could be the same length as a shorter book, and I ended up skimming others. If I spent a few days on a book, I wanted it to count, but only read 10-20 pages made me feel a bit uneasy, but I finally decided to count them.
Ultimately, it’s what worked for me. I read so many books, quite a few of which are 400+ pages. Even if I only read about 50 pages in one book, by reading another 400 page word, it’s like reading two fairly short books. I also prefer reviewing the books, even if they’re short mini-reviews, because I think it’s helpful to let people know why I didn’t like a book.
I really hope that next year there are less DNFs, but I think I’ll still keep counting them because if I put in the time, even a little, then I want it to count.
What do you think about DNFs? Do you count them, or do you force yourself to finish all your books no matter what?